Jesus Heals the Sick
by Jean-Baptiste Jouvenet, 1756-59
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Jesus Ministers Under Attack
Are you surprised when Persecution attacks your Christianity?
The Pharisees, as self-styled “religious” men are want to do, looked down their noses at Jesus even in his early ministry. As an observing disciple, I felt angry at them.
“Why are you and your men not fasting as we are?”
“No one pours new wine into old wineskins or it will tear,” said Jesus. “No, he pours new wine into new wineskins,” speaking of training his disciples.
“Why are you doing what is unlawful?”
Jesus and his disciples picked the heads of the wheat on the Sabbath. The Pharisees stuck their noses out again, always trying to accuse Jesus.
“Don't you remember David gave his men the consecrated bread when they were hungry?” said Jesus. “The Sabbath is made for man and not man for the Sabbath.” Now that's a point people forget.
“Watch him and see if he works and violates the Sabbath.”
When Jesus peached in the synagogue, a man with a shriveled hand came to him. The religious Pharisees had already decided that Jesus healing on the Sabbath was forbidden labor. They were ready to pounce.
“Is it lawful to do good or evil on the Sabbath, to save a life or to kill it?” No one answered him. I felt I was ready to fight if anyone stepped forward to stop the Master.
“Stretch out your hand,” he said. He looked around with distress at the faces of his religious accusers. The man's hand completely healed without Jesus even touching him. How could the Pharisees call that labor?
They even talked with the Herodian-Sadducee priestly class about how they might kill Jesus.
Jesus was mobbed again by crowds in the days ahead. People came from towns to the west and the north and even from the east across the Jordan. He healed diseases everywhere. He healed the lame; he cast out screaming demons, and the people kept coming. Finally, because of the crowds at the Sea of Galilee, he preached from a boat off shore. Smart, I thought.
He spent the night in prayer on a mountain. He selected twelve men to be apostles. He gave them authority to preach and to drive out demons. There were so many demons in the crowds; it's no wonder. Even the crowds squeezed around one house when Jesus was invited for supper. He could not eat, but continued casting out demons.
“He, too, is possessed with Beelzebub,” said the watching Pharisees.
“Whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit has committed an eternal sin that will never be forgiven,” said Jesus. He said this because the Pharisees and Sadducees were attacking the works of God.
Jesus' family heard about his work with the overwhelming crowds and his trouble with the authoritarian Pharisees. Out of family love, they came to rescue him.
“Who are my mother, and brothers, and sisters,” said Jesus. “Anyone who does my Father's Will; they are my mother and brothers and sisters.” And his family left him in peace. (Adapted from Mark 2 & 3.)
--Bill Hunt, World in Christ
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Persecution is the measure of your Christianity.
The darkness always hates the Light.
Do you have Faith to pray for the World?